With commerce in its blood since first founding Antwerp, Belgium has always been a city of markets. Even in the 16th century it was known as a "triomfelycke coopstad" (a triumphant shopping city). That mercantile fervor remains to this day, and the city hosts countless weekly markets, and several more themed markets each month.
If you happen to visit the beautiful City of Antwerp on a Saturday, do not forget to drop by the the so-called „International Exotic Market“ for some wonderful foodie treats. The market takes place every Saturday from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. at „Theaterplein“ (one of Antwerp’s biggest squares) and it is quite popular with the locals.ith commerce in its blood since first founding.
Many visitors gather to browse the different market stalls in search of special ingredients, wonderful spices, a good deal on vegetables or to eat something while visiting there. You will be able to choose from a variety of offerings such as freshly roasted coffee, teas, Moroccan pancakes, freshly chucked French oysters with a glass of champagne or white wine, Mexican churros, Vietnamese egg rolls, Dutch, French or Greek cheeses, Spanish or Italian hams, French dry-cured sausages, North African herbs and spices, nuts, olives or dried fruits, fresh pastas, breads and many seasonal fruits and vegetables. You will also find a goat farm offering a variety of cheese products. And different vendors selling mustards, jellies and jams or wonderful fresh as well as dried flowers.
There were very colorful bouquets of dried flowers – once you get them home safely, they will keep for quite some time.
A sign from "Heerlyk & Eerlyk Deli" leading to this specialty vendor of mushrooms, truffels, balsamic vinegar, different oils, specialty foods and other seasonal products.
„Défendons le goût du frais“. Hear. Hear.
Bunches of red grapes and homemade jellies and jams.
Different kinds of fresh pasta from „Pastaman - da´s pas pasta" - selling freshly made pasta with numerous flavors including spinach, basil, saffron, curry, paprika, tomato and many more. As well as pestos, tapenades and pasta sauces.
Bunches of carrot- and celery tops.
Small, oblong red and white radishes, red-skinned fresh onions and artichokes.
If you need a pick-me-up and maybe some pains au chocolat with your morning brew, you will be glad to stand in line at this micro-coffee-roaster called "cafeat8.com".
…and more cheese. Look, taste, smell, and then buy some.
Why bother with a menu – the writing on the tabletop indictes that a glass of wine will cost you 5 Euros, a bottle 25 Euros.
Colorful Moroccan earthenware – loved those tajine pots.
Greengages "Reine Claude" (my very favorite stonefruits - for my rendition of a famous recipe with these, you can take a look here), plums…
Many visitors to the market take a well-deserved lunch break.
An array of green and black olives and sun-dried tomatoes.
Fresh oysters - shucked while you are watching and waiting - with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice or maybe some tabasco sauce.
Cheese – as far as the eye can see.
More olives, and caper berries. And preserved lemons.
More shucked oysters and mignonette (finely diced golden shallots in aged red wine vinegar).
And some white wine to enjoy alongside the oysters.
Lots of different nuts and dried fruits, such as apricots, dates and plums.
Antipasti and capers.
Garlic and shallots and onions.
Tasting some saucisson, or "saucisson sec"…
...a variety of thick, dry cured sausage that originates in France. Typically made of pork, or a mixture of pork and other meats.
Cutting into an jamón ibérico.
Jamón ibérico also called pata negra and carna negra is a type of cured ham produced mostly in Spain, but also in some Portuguese regions. The jamón ibérico may be made from black Iberian pigs, or cross-bred pigs as long as they are at least 75% ibérico.
Foodtruck vendor of Vietnamese eggrolls, called „loempia“ in Dutch. A popular lunchtime snack in Belgium and the Netherlands.
Kaas muisje. That is Dutch for „cheese mouse“. Selling traditional cheeses while offering you a taste.
Part I of my mini series revolved around the breathtakingly beautiful City of Antwerp itself and can be found here. Part III will focus mainly on one of the most beloved and utterly delightful cookie bakeries in Antwerp and will revolve around an Antwerp cookie specialty. So make sure to look out for Part III. Coming very soon.
For more information:
The Exotic Market
Oudevaarplaats, Theaterplein (Theater Square) and surrounding
both local Belgian specialties, as well as Turkish, Maroccan and southern European specialities
2000 Antwerp, BE
every Saturday from 8am-4pm